Thursday, February 26, 2009

Under the Eye of the Clock

From Publisher's Weekly: Severely disabled by congenital cerebral palsy, Irish poet Nolan was 15 years old when he was acclaimed "a brilliantly gifted young writer" in the tradition of Yeats and Joyce. At 21, he wrote this memoir in the guise of an alter ego, Joseph Meehan. As he speaks of Joseph, "locked for years in the coffin of his body," paralyzed and mute, we are made aware of Nolan's herculean efforts and those of his family to release him from his isolation. A major breakthrough occurs when he is able to use a typewriter, then a word processor, working the keyboard with a stick affixed to his head. His physical triumphs and defeats are recorded with a striking absence of self-pity. In passages that are lyrically descriptive, there is abundant word coinage and expressive neologisms that capture Nolan's thoughts on sexuality and gratitude for the ambiance that supported him during his year at Trinity College. As Carey, his professor, states in the preface, Nolan's handicap is "a positive factor" rather than a modifying condition in his impressive achievement.

Christopher Nolan died at age 43 on February 20, 2009. NY Times Obit. He apparently asphixiated on food.